Losing someone close to you is a difficult and distressing time. As well as the emotional toll, you might also need to take care of practical matters.

There are some important things that need to be done after someone dies.

Finding the Will

The first thing you should do is find your loved one’s Will. Their Will might include funeral instructions or special requests – check these before you make any funeral arrangements.

The Public Trustee might have a Will for the deceased person – contact us to check.

We will need to ask some questions to identify the person and verify your identity as well.

If we do hold their Will, we will tell you how to proceed.


A funeral is an important part of the grieving process and gives you, your family and friends the chance to share memories and say goodbye to your loved one.

Many people make arrangements for their funerals while they are still alive.

These can be pre-arranged or pre-paid funerals and they might have left instructions about what they would like to happen at their funeral.

A funeral is usually organised by the family, but if there is no family (or the family is unable to take up the responsibility), then the executor named in the Will can arrange the funeral.

Usually, funerals are paid out of the deceased person's estate.

Most banks or financial institutions are willing to pay funds directly to the funeral director from the deceased person's bank account to cover their funeral.

You should contact their bank before arranging the funeral to check how much money (if any) is available for the funeral.

What if there isn't enough money to cover a funeral?

Where the deceased person does not have enough money - and you are also unable to pay for a funeral - you might be eligible to receive additional support.

Contact Funeral AssistanceSA - which is managed by the Department of Human Services - to see whether you can access financial assistance.

Registering the death

The funeral director will register the death with Births, Deaths and Marriages.

A death certificate is usually ordered as part of this process and sent to the person arranging the funeral.

Make sure the correct information about the person is provided to the funeral director.

Any incorrect details on the death certificate will make it invalid. This can cause delays or difficulties during the estate administration.

There are also additional costs for replacing a death certificate if the details are wrong.

Advising organisations

It's important to let certain people and organisations know your loved one has died.

We suggest contacting the following:

  • the deceased person's doctor, dentist or other health care professionals
  • Centrelink or Veteran's Affairs
  • superannuation funds, banks, insurance companies
  • Australia Post to redirect their mail
  • current or past work colleagues and any professional groups they belong to
  • sporting clubs or hobby groups
  • religious organisations - like their local church, mosque or temple.

Grief counselling and additional support

Everyone deals with grief in their own way. It's completely normal to feel a range of emotions.

If you need support you can ask your family doctor for advice.

You can also find helpful information through organisations like Lifeline or Beyond Blue.